Voting begins in war-torn Syria; Bashar al-Assad expected to win

When the elections in Syria confirm the President as the duly elected lawful leader what then?

image credit:  Reuters/Sharif Karim, source

By Jethro Mullen
3 June 2014

Polls for the Syrian presidential election opened Tuesday against the backdrop of a bloody and protracted civil war.

The outcome is hardly in doubt: President Bashar al-Assad is almost guaranteed to emerge victorious in a vote that opposition groups and many Western countries say has been be rigged from the start.

Syria isn't renowned for holding free and fair elections.

When al-Assad came to power 14 years ago, he ran unopposed, securing more than 99% of votes, according to state media. Seven years later, he won again with a similarly mountainous share of the vote. His father, Hafez al-Assad, ruled Syria with an iron fist for 29 years before he died in 2000.

The Syrian regime says the election has to be held under the new constitution and shows the country is moving forward.

But some analysts say the purpose of this week's vote, which U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the Syrian government not to hold, is to send a message to al-Assad's opponents, both in Syria and abroad.

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Renminbi (RMB) Yuan Clearing Bank To Open In London

Now London launches the Yuan, the Petro Dollar will take a hit.

This is a big deal and with Yuan convertibility in the Shanghai free trade zone in July, the momentum will accelerate.

Heffx Live Trading News
By Paul Ebeling
2 June 2014

A RMB Yuan (CNY) clearing bank will be officially appointed in the United Kingdom (UK) in June, said Mark Boleat, policy chairman for the City of London Corp, in an interview at the weekend.

“There will be a clearing bank in London. In due course, there will be an announcement,” Mr. Boleat said. The news will be an endorsement for London’s efforts to become an offshore yuan center. Other European financial centers in the race to become a Yuan center include Frankfurt, Paris, Switzerland and Luxembourg.

An official clearing bank facilitates efficient clearing of offshore Renminbi transactions, achieved through the appointed bank’s direct cooperation with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) , the country’s central bank.

Mr. Boleat said having a clearing bank in London will act as a signal for London’s growing Yuan activities, although activities are already cleared through many commercial banks’ own channels.

For example, in December Standard Chartered (LO:STAN) teamed up with Agricultural Bank of China to provide their own Yuan clearing platform, making use of the 2 banks’ expertise and client base in the UK and China.

Mr. Boleat’s news follows a memorandum of understanding China and the UK signed in April to work together on a clearing bank for London.

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May cable news ratings spare no one

At last, the MSM are being uncovered.

So much for mainstream press having influence, the people are waking up.

By Hadas Gold
29 May 2014

Make no mistake, Fox News is still the ratings king. But the recent May numbers show that while all the cable channels had a decline in ratings (which is normal for May), Fox News was far from spared, with some of its lowest ratings in 12 years.

While Fox dominates with the top 14 shows in overall viewers, the total day average for Fox News in the key advertising demographic of the 25- to 54-year-old category was 177,000 viewers, only the second time Fox has gone below a 200,000 average since 2001.

Another key factor coming from May ratings is just how old Fox News viewers are. Take for example, Bill O'Reilly's show, "The O'Reilly Factor." O'Reilly had his lowest month since 2001 in the key demo, with 308,000 viewers. Yes, O'Reilly is still the No. 1 program in cable news in both total and demo viewers, averaging 2,136,000 total viewers in May. But the majority of those viewers are over the age of 55. In fact, the median age for O'Reilly is now just over 72 years old. The average Fox News viewer overall is 68.8, while the average ages of MSNBC and CNN viewers were 62.5 and 62.8, respectively.

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Military community reaction mixed to Bergdahl release

Now truth comes out. American troops died to get this guy, but read now the truth and ask why?
This is the man that we traded for 5 High Profile Taliban soldiers out of the Prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The man was a deserter from the U.S. Army. He was "ashamed to be an American Soldier". U.S. Soldiers were killed trying to find this man. The President of the United States is required to give Congress, 30 days notice, before anything like this can happen, or even contemplated. Our, President, says that such requirements, "interfere with his Executive Powers", as his justification for doing this. This man, even though he was a Constitutional Law Professor, has no intention of following the checks and balances that were set up by our Forefathers, in the Constitution.

This man needs to be impeached for this. It is a slap in the face to every man that has worn a Soldier's uniform, and, represented this Country. It is a slap in the face to those First Responders for 9/11.

How in the world can you justify releasing 5 Taliban Soldiers for this guy?

These were guys responsible for the attack of 9/11. I have included a link that tells the Story about who this guy is, and, what happened in order to secure his release. The People of this Country, whether Liberal, or Conservative, cannot tolerate this kind of behavior from The President. I don't hide the fact that I do not like Barack Obama's Politics. But, this goes beyond Politics. This is utter disdain for the People of this Country.

And, I am sick of this guy. He needs to go, Now!
~ RR

Navy Times
31 May 2014

Though Americans may be celebrating the release of the only American soldier held prisoner in Afghanistan by the Taliban, the reaction of the military community has been mixed at best.

Within an hour of the announcement that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was handed over to U.S. special forces by the Taliban Saturday evening, Army Times’ Facebook page lit up with hundreds of comments reacting to the news.

Most centered on the circumstances surrounding Bergdahl's capture, which remain something of a mystery. There has been some speculation that he willingly walked away from his unit, raising the question of whether he could be charged with being absent without leave (AWOL) or desertion.

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Humor | Blue Collar Comedy Tour - BIG DECK

For every guy worried about the size of his deck watch it.

Ecuador Sends Gold Bricks to Goldman Sachs in Liquidity Hunt

Incredible anyone would even trust a brick to a US Bank.

Fat chance they will ever see it back. Do they read?

Image © Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR

By Nathan Gill
2 June 2014

Ecuador agreed to transfer more than half its gold reserves to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for three years to give the government easier access to cash.

The central bank said it will send 466,000 ounces of gold to Goldman Sachs, worth about $580 million at current prices, and get the same amount back three years from now. In return, Ecuador will get “instruments of high security and liquidity” and expects to earn a profit of $16 million to $20 million over the term of the accord. The central bank didn’t detail additional terms of the transactions, such as any fees or financing costs paid to Goldman Sachs.

The deal comes as the South American country’s government, which defaulted on about $3.2 billion of bonds five years ago, seeks to cover a budget deficit forecast by the Finance Ministry to swell to a record $4.94 billion this year. President Rafael Correa said in April he also planned to sell about $700 million of foreign debt this year in the country’s first international bond sale since the 2008 and 2009 default.

“Gold that was not generating any returns in vaults, causing storage costs, now becomes a productive asset that will generate profits,” the central bank said in the statement. “These interventions in the gold market represent the beginning of a new and permanent strategy of active participation by the bank, through purchases, sales and financial operations, that will contribute to the creation of new financial investment opportunities.”

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National Crime Agency issues warning over GOZeuS and CryptoLocker malware

Watch out for these nasty new virus issues due to attack.

By Graeme Burton
3 June 2014

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has issued an unprecedented warning over GOZeuS and CryptoLocker PC malware.

"Action taken by the NCA to combat the threat will give the UK public a unique, two-week opportunity to rid and safeguard themselves from two distinct but associated forms of malware known as GOZeuS and CryptoLocker," warned the NCA in a statement.

GOZeus - short for Gameover Zeus - is a peer-to-peer variant of the Zeus family of malware, first identified in September 2011. It is designed to steal bank log-in credentials by searching a compromised PC for files containing financial information. If it fails to find anything of value, it may then install Cryptolocker - "ransomware" that encrypts the PC's hard-disk drive, only providing the decryption key after a fee is paid.

GOZeus uses a decentralised infrastructure, which makes it more difficult to take down than a typical botnet, according to an advisory from the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).

Very often, if GOZeus is thwarted, its controllers use their access to the PC to install CryptoLocker instead. This encrypts the contents of the PC's hard-disk drive and demands a ransom from the user to decrypt it.

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